Monday, April 18, 2011
My War on Freezer Burn
I know it’s a little past the pumpkin season, but nonetheless, pumpkin will be starring in both today’s and tomorrow’s recipes.
Here’s the deal: I hate freezer burn.
It’s probably because this nemesis of mine has been the primary cause in the premature deaths of dozens of gallons of ice cream in my lifetime. Granted, ice cream in my house doesn’t often stick around long enough to put it at such risk, but inevitably there comes a day when my comfy jeans morph into my tight jeans and, therefore, I make this covenant with myself to abstain from my nighttime bowl of ice cream. For about 3 weeks, I succeed.
All the while, this unsuspecting ½ gallon of Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl patiently waits for me to return for my nocturnal visit and with each passing day, and a silent death sneaks under the cardboard lid, and slowly, ever so slowly begins to crystallize the sweet, pillowy surface of my ice cream. And with this glassy exterior comes a flavor, deep within, that’s hard to describe. It’s the subtle yet overwhelming taste of a winter overstaying its welcome: stale cold. So when, at the end of 3 weeks, I crumble under the weight of my sweet tooth and hungrily pry off the lid to my peanut buttery escape, I find my ice cream is dead.
I hate death, the death of anyone or anything (but really just ice cream because the death of prejudice and evil and stuff like that I’m cool with).
“What on earth does this have to do with pumpkin?” you ask.
Well, last fall, I cooked and pureed a couple of pumpkins and stuck the goods in my freezer. Since I’m kind of anal about the whole “icy death” thing, I like to use freezer stuff up within 6 months. It just so happens that recently Shawn and I had lunch in this artsy little café that served a kickin’ Thai Pumpkin Curry. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to recreate it, and so I finally have. I loved the results so much, that I’m sharing it with you, proving yet again that good can come out of evil.
(On a side-note: Once again I’m doing the step-by-step picture thing. I guess I’m doing it because I just so happened to have my camera nearby when I was making this. And it’s kind of like an Easter present, too. So enjoy.)
Mai’s Spicy Pumpkin Curry Soup
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 green onions, white and light green sections only
2 garlic cloves
8-10 Thai red chilies
½ tsp. turmeric
1 tbsp. red curry powder
1 can coconut milk
2 c. fresh or thawed frozen pumpkin (I didn’t squeeze all the extra moisture out of mine so I’m imagining this would equal about 1 can of canned pumpkin, but if you’re using canned, you may want to add a little sugar along with it.)
2 ½ c. vegetable stock
½ c. fresh cilantro (a small handful—no need to be precise here)
salt and pepper to taste
This is a “dump it” recipe at its finest. Heat your oil in a large pot.
Put the onions, garlic, and chilies in a food processor and pulse it up a couple times till it’s chopped up enough for your liking.
Dump all of this into the pot and stir, just to get everything sizzling.
Now toss in the turmeric and curry powder. Scoot it around the pan for about 30 seconds so the flavors start to release and get toasty.
Now add your pumpkin,
and veggie stock.
Let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, pulse the cilantro just enough for a rough chop; if you overdo it here, you’ll have cilantro paste.
Sprinkle cilantro on top, add salt and pepper to your liking, and serve with crusty bread, or better yet, Mai’s Crazy Good Wheat Bread.
Tomorrow, I'm putting another cookbook and a Pumpkin Cookie recipe on your list of "must-haves".